Five Minute People

Coming into my mid-30’s I am finally ready to admit that I am past my strong, independent “woman” phase.  I need (and thankfully have) someone who will be there for me.  Not just present, but wholly.

I was thinking the other day about hugs.  What is it about them that is so reassuring?  I came to this thought due to a rather sad circumstance.  I am a supervisor at my job.  Of the 4 supervisors there, I have cast myself in the roll of the funny, easy-going one.  People come to me if they want an answer that will be swiftly decided upon and given in a no-nonsense manner with a side of witty sarcasm.  So it crushed me the other day when one of my employees walks into my office, holding her phone, with a pained and tear-streaked look on her face.

Her grandmother had died.  The grandmother who raised her after her parents died when she was only an infant.  She knew it was coming, but she was not prepared.  Who could be?

Without words, I got up and rounded my desk and she just went into my arms.  We don’t have that kind of working relationship.  But she held on so tightly.  She didn’t sob, she didn’t wail.  She just held on for dear life.  This is what got me thinking.

Is it the contact?  The body heat that is so reassuring?  Then it hit me.  Hug, while a simple word is anything but.  Being that close to someone – there is something magical that happens there.  As if there is a transference of emotions; of consciousness.  In that one simple act I was able to take some of that load off of her shoulders and bare the heavy weight of it.  One of the longest hugs I’ve ever experienced; there was a tense moment and then I felt it.  The rigidity had left her body and she kind of sagged a little.

One final tight squeeze and it was over.

In place of the pained, tear-streaked face was now one of sad resignation.  She looked as though she could now make it through the next five minutes.  I knew that she had friends and family around to help her get through the next five after that.

A couple weeks later she was back from her bereavement leave. She walked in the door and gave me a wan smile, a squeeze on the shoulder that said all the thanks I never needed.  This leads me to the simple advice I give to myself and to you:

Find your five minute people.

The ones who will help you get through.

Hold them tight.

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